Taliban Kidnaps 70, Kills 7 After Clash With Army

Taliban Kidnaps 70, Kills 7 After Clash With Army

The incident took place near Taliban hideout in Kunduz province of Afghanistan on Sunday morning, Police said.

In June and July 2016, a series of interceptions had resulted in the removal of almost 200 people, including in the province of Kunduz (north): majority had been released, but a dozen at least were killed, according to police.

The district, laying in north of provincial capital Lashkar Gah city, has been the scene of heavy clashes between security forces and Taliban since early Thursday after Taliban attacked security checkpoints with suicide vehicle bombs and heavy weapons.

Taliban launched an offensive on Kohistan district on Saturday night at about 10 p.m. local time.

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In a statement, Abdul Khalil, Army spokesperson said, "Acting upon intelligence reports, the government forces aircraft attacked a Taliban gathering in Bandar-e-Shorab area in Khan Abad district, killing 13 rebels on the spot and injuring three others".

He said the attack was launched as a small security check post was located near the district center, forcing the security personnel to retreat.

The Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), a USA watchdog, estimates that the Taliban controls 11 districts and has influence over 34 of Afghanistan's 407 districts (11 percent), while the Afghan government controls 97 districts and influences 146 (60 percent). Bigzad said another 20 members of a local police force were missing following a firefight on July 21.

Raziq said the insurgents released 30 of the hostages and were still holding 30 others.

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The Taliban has not yet claimed responsibility for the kidnappings. It wasn't immediately clear if they had been kidnapped or whether they had escaped. The Associated Press could not independently verify either death toll.

Bigzad says the area of the fighting is tucked inside a mountainous region where access is restricted and even telephone contact is erratic.

The Taliban are engaged in fighting with security forces in the northern province of Baghlan, temporarily closing a key highway between the capital Kabul and northern Afghanistan.

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